Why Self-Focus Hinders Your Freedom (A Book Review)
“It’s not about you.”
I’ve heard these words so many times in my life, both as a kid and an adult. Frankly, it usually hacks me off because deep down I believe… **everything, yes everything, is about me**.
There’s a sense of comfort when we make things about us. We feel in control. When we succeed, this control makes us feel like we’re on top of the world. We think, “Wow! Look what I did!” But when we fail, the opposite happens. This control makes us feel low, unworthy, and extremely burdened because we blame the failure on ourselves. When life is all about us, we bear the crushing weight of “fate” on our shoulders.
I’ve been one to harbor this “crushing weight” on my shoulders for YEARS. I’ve made everything about me: my success, failures, my marriage, friendships, others reactions/responses, my reputation, and so many other things. At just the right time, God allowed me to be on an AWESOME launch team for a book that has set me free in the most amazing ways. I C.A.N.N.O.T wait to tell you about it because this book really is so. stinkin’. good.
Called to Be “Free of Me”
In her book, Free of Me, Sharon Miller dives into the chain-breaking truth that the phrase “it’s not about you” can actually mean complete freedom. She writes,
“The friend who rejected you, the parent who hurt you, the boss who insulted you, the neighbor who was rude to you–it’s not about you. Their brokenness, their temper, their cold, piercing words; none of that was about you, but them. When your house isn’t as big as you’d like it to be, or your ministry isn’t as successful, or your name isn’t as well known, thank goodness it’s not about you.” (14)
No wonder insecurity and low self-esteem have been so rampant in our culture– we make things about us that really aren’t. As Sharon talks about in her book, we live in a world of mirrors where we treat people as if they are a reflection of us and our self worth. When life is about us, affirmation gives us a positive self-esteem and rejection gives us a negative self-esteem. Yet, Christ has called us to a live a different way. He’s called us to run this race with our eyes fixed on Him, not on ourselves. How do we do this? By first exposing the hazards of self- focus.
5 Truths About Self-Focus
I want to share with you a couple quotes Sharon uses in her book that exposes how self-focus hinders us from being free. I’ve found myself “amen-ing”, “oh-crap-ing” and “YES-ing” to so many of the things she talks about in this book. I’m thinking you’ll use some of the same choice words! Here are some truths Sharon shares about the dangers of self-focus:
- “Self-focus assumes that every slight, every rejection, every awkward interaction must be about you. Self-focus raises the stakes of dating, parenting, working and serving by turning it all into a referendum of your worth….it magnifies your flaws because you are constantly aware of them.” (34)
- “People pleasing is a funny thing, because it seems “others-focused”, but it’s not about others at all. It’s all about you. You want other people to think well of you. …say nice things about you. You help and you do favors and you struggle to say no because you don’t want people to be mad at you. Yes, your self-confidence hinges on the wellbeing of others, but at the end of the day people pleasing is really in service to yourself.” (24)
- When you treat people like mirrors, you treat “everything in your life as a reflection of you… especially in marriage and parenting. When your spouse or your kids become extensions of you, they are forced to bear a burden they were never meant to carry.” (56- 57)
- “When we make our bodies about us, we contribute to the culture of competition. When we make our appearances about us, our desire to look cute is what dictates our actions, instead of a desire to love…it’s bad for us and the women around us. It helps no one.” (74- 75)
- When we make rejection about us, it’s hard to see God’s redemptive work because we can’t see past ourselves. Our focus is so thoroughly inward, that we don’t see the plans he has for our pain.” (98)
Do You Want to Be “Free of Me?”
I don’t know that I’ve read a book that speaks to the heart of self-focus more than this one. Not only does Sharon share some very powerful truths about the harmful effects of self-focus, but she shares the methods & ways God showed her to be free from it. I love it when people share their hard-learned lessons with others so that we can learn from them and not have to walk the same hard road.
This book landed in my hands at the perfect time, and slowly, I’m learning to stop making everything about me and to look at HIM instead. (We’ve got a long way to go folks–slowly but surely.) I HIGHLY recommend this book to any woman, any age, because it speaks to so many of the things we go through. And guess what? YOU CAN GET IT TODAY! If you’re interested in purchasing this book, you can go HERE and get this baby in your hands.
You will love, love, love this book. Let me know what you think!
May we all enjoy our adventures of becoming free of me.